The AP style says that a comma is not needed between two clauses that have the same subject. However, it would become ambiguous if I removed the comma fromt the following:

When you walk straight down the hall, you will be met with two doors: the first goes upstairs , and the second goes to the outside.

Is the comma after upstairs required in the AP Style? Is it a clear "YES" or is it subjective? As a side note, is the use of the colon okay according to the AP Style?

  • 1
    IMHO, your question is flawed. (1) The clauses “the first goes upstairs” and “the second goes outside” do not have the same subject. First is the subject of the first, and second of the second. (2) Either or both of the commas in the example can be removed without introducing any ambiguity. Apr 12, 2013 at 15:34
  • @jwpat7: What about the colon? Is colon at all allowed in the AP Style?
    – Noah
    Apr 12, 2013 at 16:07
  • I don't have a copy of AP stylebook but gather from apvschicago.com that AP has some rules allowing use of colons. Apr 12, 2013 at 16:34

1 Answer 1


I have the 2011 edition of the AP Stylebook, which gives the following as correct examples:

He promised this: The company will make good all the losses.

There were three considerations: expense, time, and feasibility.

Yours seems to fit the first example, so as an independent clause it would take a capital letter after the colon.

I would use both commas for absolute clarity.

  • Is the capital T in the first sentence a typo or out of the stylebook? Apr 12, 2013 at 22:30
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    @DavidGiven No, it's in the AP stylebook. I happen to disagree — I don't think that the independent clause after the colon should take a capital letter — but the OP was asking about AP style. I flagged it in my first line after the blockquote. Apr 12, 2013 at 22:41
  • Yeah, I think it's odd too... thanks for the clarification. Apr 13, 2013 at 20:04

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